Countdown to 'Star Wars'

Today’s Natalie Portman’s birthday

Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman) isn't above taking matters into her own hands to thwart the occupation of her planet in “Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace.”
Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman) isn't above taking matters into her own hands to thwart the occupation of her planet in “Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace.” Keith Hamshere

The actress who played Queen Amidala in “Star Wars: Episode 1: The Phantom Menace” turns 33 today. That means she was only 17 when the movie opened.

She was already a veteran actor with appearances in “The Professional,” “Heat,” “Beautiful Girls” and “Mars Attacks!” Portman would go on to appear in “Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones” and “Star Wars III - Revenge of the Sith.”

Amidala’s contribution to the “Star Wars” universe is as the mother of Luke and Leia.

In an interview with New York magazine, Portman said that after the three movies “everyone thought I was a horrible actress’ making it nearly impossible to find another part since ‘no director wanted to work with me.”

Rick Bentley: (559) 441-6355, @RickBentley1

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